A PEDANT WRITES

by colinptucker

Feeling more than a little paralysed right now by the long wait for responses to DOUGLAS. I have various possible ideas for the next epic, but until I get some feedback I find it difficult to get convinced by any of them.

So I thought I’d post an observation about the odd misuse of a particular word: careening. I’ve seen this used several times now in published novels as a sort of variation on the word careering in the sense of hurtling fast towards an object, with the added implication of being slightly out of control. But to careen doesn’t mean that at all. Absurdly, the dictionary definition is ‘to tilt to one side’ and it derives from ship repairing. In dry dock the ship is tilted to one side to have its bottom scrubbed clean of whatever grot is attached to it, barnacles, seaweed, etc.

So a very specific word is being weakened by its misuse in a totally unnecessary way.

OK, I plead guilty, I’m a pedant.

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